Credit One Bank American Express Card Review

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations.

The Credit One Bank American Express Card is a simple cash-back card with a slight twist. Value-wise, the rewards rate is low, and there’s an annual fee and high APR. But, as the first Credit One Bank card on the American Express network, it gives those who may have imperfect credit a taste of the Amex VIP treatment.

Credit One Bank American Express® Card

overall rating
2.4
Credit One Bank American Express® Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 25.74% variable
Annual Fee $39
Rewards Earning Rate 1.0% cash back on eligible purchases
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
3.5
for Rewards
3.2
for Credit
4.6

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver

If you’ve only got average credit, the Credit One Bank American Express is one option with a little cachet, provided you can swallow the terms. Competing cards offer bigger rewards, no annual fee, or a lower APR, but if you’re looking for a decent credit limit and a few extras, this low-maintenance card may be worthwhile.

Pros

  • A decent credit limit that may go up

  • Amex benefits

Cons

  • Low cash-back rate

  • Annual fee and high APR

  • No welcome offer or promotional APR

Pros Explained

  • A decent credit limit that may go up: A minimum of $500 is as good or higher than you’ll find on some competing cards. Plus, Credit One will automatically review your account, so if you establish a good track record, you may be eligible for an increase.
  • Amex benefits: Cardholders get access to some of the perks American Express is best known for: hotel amenities, dining and shopping discounts, and special access to concert tickets.

Cons Explained

  • Low cash-back rate: Getting 1% of all your purchases back in cash is better than nothing, but you can earn more with competitor cards like the Capital One QuicksilverOne or the Credit One Bank Platinum Premier Visa.  
  • Annual fee and high APR: While annual fees are not unusual for cards marketed to people with average credit, there are credit cards without one—even some with rewards. The APR is also on the high end, even among the suite of similar cards issued by Credit One. On the plus side, you’re guaranteed a grace period (only some cardholders get that with the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa) so you have the option of avoiding finance charges. 
  • No welcome offer or promotional APR: With an unimpressive cash-back rate and an annual fee, it would be nice to get some up-front value or bonus on this card. Without it, the card becomes less appealing than even some secured cards.

Earning Points & Rewards

The Credit One Bank American Express Card is a flat-rate cash-back card, meaning you get a certain percentage of every purchase in cash back. The 1% on this card is a bare minimum rate, but at least you’ll get it with no hassle. Credit One automatically credits your account, reducing your monthly statement balance with whatever rewards you’ve earned. In essence, it’s like getting an automatic 1% discount on everything you buy, and you don’t have to do a thing.  

Redeeming Points & Rewards

The Credit One Bank American Express Card is no fuss, but if you want to use your rewards for something else, look for another card. There are no other redemption options beyond the automatic statement credit. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Make no mistake—you’re not getting this card for the rewards, since you can do better elsewhere. It’s about getting those American Express perks and working on your credit. Make the most of this card by keeping your spending in check and paying your bill in full each month, on time. If you do, you may eventually be rewarded with a higher credit limit from Credit One, and hopefully, a better credit score. Then, this card will have served its purpose, and you can shop around for cards that offer better value.

Credit score calculations weigh payment history and credit utilization (the amount of available credit you’re using) the most heavily. Don’t miss payments and aim to use no more than 30% of your overall credit limit.

Credit One Bank Amex Card’s Excellent Perks

There are lots of benefits offered by credit cards, but some stand out for their exceptional value. The Credit One Bank American Express Card has one that our editors consider “excellent”:

  • Travel accident insurance: If your entire trip is paid for on your card, you’ll get accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $150,000 if there’s an accident while you’re traveling.

Credit One Bank American Express Card’s Other Features

Among the other features offered, some may be harder to find without an American Express card:

  • Sports, music, and event ticket presales
  • Discounts and special fares with certain travel partners
  • Amex Offers (discounts on select purchases if you opt in)
  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
  • Extended warranties

Customer Experience

Credit One Bank scored quite poorly in J.D. Power’s 2019 credit card customer satisfaction survey, taking last place among 11 national card issuers. With some of its other products, Credit One hasn’t disclosed all the fees or rewards until the cardholder’s application was approved, which may explain some of the dissatisfaction. The company also doesn’t give you 24/7 access to a customer service representative, though it does have a mobile app for managing your account. 

Cardholders can also access their Experian ScoreX credit score for free online, a good feature for tracking progress as you look to strengthen your credit. 

Security Features 

The Credit One Bank American Express Card has standard security features (zero fraud liability, fraud alerts, etc.)

Credit One Bank Amex Card’s Fees to Watch For

Besides the annual fee, the Credit One Bank American Express Card charges a $19 authorized user fee, and a fee for any foreign transactions (3% of your purchase or $1, whichever is greater). There isn’t a penalty APR, but given that the regular purchase APR is already high, it’s hardly a selling point.

For Credit One Bank American Express® Card

Compare This Card

See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Credit One Bank American Express® Card
overall rating
2.4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 25.74% variable
Annual Fee $39
Rewards Earning Rate 1.0% cash back on eligible purchases

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.